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Jewish Cemetery in Greece Desecrated

Vandals smash ornaments, remove tombs' covers at the Jewish cemetery of Thessaloniki.
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 5/30/2014, 8:27 PM

Swastika vandalism (illustrative)
Swastika vandalism (illustrative)
Reuters

Vandals attacked the Jewish cemetery of the Greek city of Thessaloniki, whose Jewish population was nearly wiped out during World War II, local authorities said on Friday.

According to The Associated Press (AP), police said marble ornaments were smashed off 12 graves, while vandals also tried to remove the tombs' heavy marble covers.

Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos promised that police would do "whatever is humanly possible" to arrest the vandals.

David Saletiel, head of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki, told AP that a caretaker discovered the "tragic spectacle" early Thursday.

About 96 percent of Thessaloniki's 50,000 Jews were murdered in Nazi camps during World War II.

Six decades later, anti-Semitism is still very much alive in Greece, where the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party gained ground several years ago.

The leader of the neo-Nazi party has claimed that Nazi concentration camps did not use ovens and gas chambers to exterminate Jews during the Holocaust.

Greece's Jewish community expressed alarm following the election of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party to parliament and warned their fellow citizens to oppose the return of fascism.

Since that time, the Greek government launched a crackdown on the party. Golden Dawn's leader and two party lawmakers have been jailed on charges of forming a criminal group. The party has denied any wrongdoing.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)